In 1983, Toyota chairman Eiji Toyoda called together the strategists, engineers and management behind the success of Toyota for a classified meeting. There he divulged a plan to create a luxury vehicle that would compete with the best. 20 designers and engineers were relocated to what can be considered the pinnacle of affluent suburbs - Laguna Beach. Immersing themselves in the culture of lavish homes, affluent schools and five-star restaurants, they came to grasp the concept of American luxury.
Six years, 1 400 engineers and $1 billion later, the Lexus LS400 was released in the United States.
Almost 20 years on, Lexus has become synonymous with sophistication, performance, safety and refinement - the ideals of contemporary luxury. By 1992 Lexus was outselling its German rivals to become the number one luxury import vehicle in the US.
Today, Lexus International reaches across the globe. The driving force behind every division of Lexus is to enrich society through the manufacturing of world class vehicles. In such a dynamic world and era in which we live, such a pursuit requires continuous devotion to redesigning, reshaping and adapting vehicles to cater for and apply any technological advancement that helps meet these ends.
The pursuit of such perfection compels us as a corporate to engage in international discourse and meet the needs of those communities whose lives we are looking to enrich. This means going beyond the manufacturing of vehicles.
Lexus South Africa
In July 2006, Lexus was relaunched to the South African market as a unique standalone marque distinct in quality and craftsmanship from our mother company, Toyota South Africa. As a result of the revitalisation project, Lexus now sells more vehicles every year than in the 11 years prior to the relaunch. Lexus is fast becoming a household name by living up to our covenant to provide a platform for the perfect moment.
With 14 premium, standalone dealerships situated in major metropolitan areas around the country, the Lexus showroom experience has been compared to that enjoyed at a five-star boutique hotel.
Each Lexus model has been built to the highest levels of comfort and refinement, and each vehicle includes the highest level of specification and technological features as part of the package.
The Pursuit of Perfection
The original LS400 set the tone for future marques with every inch compounded and created out of an unyielding determination to create the perfect vehicle with the sole intent to inspire the perfect driving experience. Every 10 grams added to the first premium Lexus was signed off personally by the chief engineer at the time - an obsessive attention to detail that filters through each Lexus vehicle today.
The prototype was subjected to months of gruelling tests, to ensure it could offer a luxury experience under any condition. The result was a vehicle that was 2 dB quieter than its competitors - inaudible to the human ear, but deafening to the Japanese engineers. All the while, the prototypes were put through 4,7 million km of testing, equivalent to driving more than 123 times around the world.
Since then, Lexus has perfected the art of testing our vehicles, reducing this process to 19 hours, 11 of which are spent in the paint shop. Once out of the paint shop the vehicles are put under special lights where imperfections are looked for by hand. Around 10% of the vehicles are sent back through the process to ensure they meet the stringent requirements of Lexus.
Those that pass this test are assembled and exposed to a further 2.5 km of quality check lines. Lexus plant workers are typically veteran technicians repeatedly appraised and ranked according to skill. Only a select group of craftspeople are eligible to work on Lexus vehicles - they are called Takumi (Japanese for master craftsmen).
During quality checks, the Takumi will examine everything from the door closing speed to the sound of the sunroof sliders. With stethoscopes they listen to the sound of the engine in order to identify any irregularities. During this process around 30% of the vehicles are sent back down the line for further treatment with only the best making it to the showrooms.
As a result of its rigorous quality programme, Lexus has established itself as the automotive leader in quality, luxury and refinement as can be verified by the numerous quality awards the brand has received from the likes of JD Power and Associates.
Obsessive maybe - we refer to it as the Pursuit of Perfection.
To uphold to the ideals of perfection and the promise of luxury moments, Lexus lives by stringent principles, namely:
- Honour the language and spirit of the law of every nation and undertake open and fair corporate activities to be a good corporate citizen of the world.
- Respect the culture and customs of every nation and contribute to economic and social development through corporate activities in the communities.
- Dedicate ourselves to providing clean and safe products and to enhancing the quality of life everywhere through all our activities.
- Create and develop advanced technologies and provide outstanding products and services that fulfil the needs of customers worldwide.
- Foster a corporate culture that enhances individual creativity and teamwork value, while honouring mutual trust and respect between labour and management.
- Pursue growth in harmony with the global community through innovative management.
Work with business partners in research and creation to achieve stable, long-term growth and mutual benefits, while keeping ourselves open to new partnerships.